The University of Georgia has published its online Civil Rights Digital Library. This library offers videos, photographs, time-lines and over 30 hours of unedited historical news film chronicling events including unaired footage of the Atlanta sit-ins, Freedom Rides and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.
I was born in 1955, so when I went to the Events page of the digital library I was impressed that the chronicling there started in 1954. I grew up in the midst of most of this history, and I doubt that there are many in my age group that are not affected by the fact that all of this real-life drama was percolating in the background of our formative years. 1954 was Brown vs. the Board of Education. 1955 was the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Emmett Till murder. 1956 the Montgomery Bus Boycott. And so on. Up through 1968 – Dr. King’s assassination. I was thirteen by then, and the Civil Rights movement, along with the paralleled social development of the 60s movement and the Vietnam War……..well this is the brew that I grew in.
I encourage anyone, but especially my younger friends to immerse themselves in this for a while. We sometimes feel that each struggle is new and that there is an end in sight. I believe the process is eternal, but necessary, and that there will always be a need for people to push for justice.
* Montgomery Bus Boycott
* Emmett Till murder
The image at the left is a mug shot of Eretta F. Adair taken after her arrest on February 21, 1956 for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Adair’s arrest number is 7070. The photo is from the Smoking Gun Website.